January with Jane – 10 Meeting the Light Completely

Even the long-beloved
was once
an unrecognized stranger.

Just so,
the chipped lip
of a blue-glazed cup,
blown field
of a yellow curtain,
might also,
flooding and falling,
ruin your heart.

A table painted with roses.
An empty clothesline.

Each time,
the found world surprises—
that is its nature.

And then
what is said by all lovers:
“What fools we were, not to have seen.”

-Jane Hirshfield

Light glinting off of every surface , bouncing as if from a prism around the room when the sun angles just so through the window, late in the day. Light suddenly revealed, released its usual confinement, like the container of a human body, shattered at the end of a life, in some microcosmic echo of the ‘shattering of the vessels’ that occurred in the beginning of time, when the light poured itself out to become flesh (matter, if that matters to you) , sparks in every atom.

This is the way it is (for me) at a wake, when memories and stories of the departed flood the room (and the rooms of the heart) with light– glinting off of every surface of every bit of shared reflection and spilled remembrance . How each individual present has a bit of the beloved’s story, spilled out over a lifetime, now gathered into one space, the aura surrounding the collective body of the bereaved almost radiant. Mysterious discharge of light at the end, like the blazing tail of a star as it dies. Light made flesh; Flesh made light.

How we see more clearly what was only in a mirror dimly glimpsed, (what fools we were, not to have seen!) the veil of fog lifted for a moment, the way LOVE threaded its way in and through our beloved’s life, the myriad ways Love flowed from our beloved’s life to bless our own , the way that Love offered itself as nourishment in this mysterious communion of this body.

Who knows, perhaps the one who dies will also see clearly how it was, the way their life was about incarnating and bringing Love, making Love Real in this place, the places s/he touched the darkness in another, to set off a tiny explosion of Light (as the physicists have noted occurs even in the subatomic world)*

When that veil lifts, may I be known, not by the things I did. May my “I AM” (or was) not be a litany of roles I performed, not the ‘things’ themselves — the degree earned, the accomplishment fulfilled, the destination attained, the job held–waitress, storekeeper, teacher, artist, doctor, builder— not merely the blue chipped cup, the table painted with roses, or the nothingness of a clanging gong— but the way each one contained something of that Light, how Love itself flowed through those seeming ordinary objects and objectives. May my ‘I AM’ be that She Was a vessel of Love, both filled and poured out by Life.

Infused by Love do we have our being. What fools we are not to have seen

*and as Authors Matthew, Sheila and Dennis Linn have documented in their exploration of near death experiences around the world, the way we are enveloped by Love while being ‘shown’ (hmmm shone?) the places in our lives where the Love that we were made a difference (and of course conversely, while still being utterly held in the indescribable depths of loving compassion, the places we fell short )

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